All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), AISHE-C 2010: Designing & Delivering Curricula for the Future

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The black sheep of the evaluation family? Summative SET in UCD
Paul William George Surgenor

Last modified: 2010-10-13

Abstract


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Student feedback plays a vital role in ensuring teaching and module quality and development.  While formative student evaluation of teaching (SET) is often accepted as a matter of course (Ballantyne, Borthwick, & Packer, 2000), the more standardised, summative approach to evaluation is more often a cause for concern (Martinson 2000; Light and Cox, 2001; Beran, & Rokosh, 2009).  There has been speculation over the reasons for this though little research has been conducted on the attitudes and perceived barriers of academics to the introduction of summative SET in their institution.

An awareness of these perceived barriers is essential to understand lecturers’ reluctance and to enable effective module and course development by engaging academics in a non-threatening, mutually beneficial process.

In this research a series of university-wide focus groups were conducted with representative lecturers to explore their reactions to the potential introduction of mandatory summative SET in UCD. 

Through manual thematic analysis of the transcribed material several key themes emerged, including Purpose, Lecturer Reticence, Consequences, Validity, and Usefulness of the Data. These themes are discussed in relation to module improvement and the broader implications for summative evaluation in Higher Education.


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